NC Highway Patrol cracks down on school bus stop laws

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – On average, nearly 3,000 North Carolina drivers ignore school bus stop arms. That’s why State Highway Patrol is cracking down on offenders this week.

Across the state, more than 14,000 school buses travel our roads every day. But some drivers are putting the kids on those buses in danger by ignoring laws to stop for school buses.

Since 1999, 13 children have been killed while getting on or off a stopped school bus in our state alone. State Highway Patrol says that’s 13 too many.

That’s why they’re launching Operation Stop Arm Monday at 6 a.m. to bring awareness to school bus safety.

Troopers are increasing their presence around buses and stops. They’re following buses with unmarked cars and doing some ride-alongs.

Local troopers tell us they get complaints every week about people not stopping for school buses. So they’re targeting high complaint areas.

Trooper Doug Coley says they’re no excuse for breaking these laws.

“People are in a hurry. In the mornings, they’re running late. They see the school buses and people should think about safety when they see a school bus,” Trooper Coley said.

If you hit a child getting on or off a bus, Trooper Coley says that charge slaps 5 points on your license. The only charge carrying more points in North Carolina is DWI.

Sometimes the laws can get confusing with multi-lane roads, so here’s a breakdown of the school bus stop laws:

  • Two-lane roadway: When school bus stops for passengers, all traffic from both directions must stop.
  • Two-lane roadway with a center turning lane: When school bus stops for passengers, all traffic from both directions must stop.
  • Four-lane roadway without a median separation: When school bus stops for passengers, all traffic from both directions must stop.
  • Divided highway of four lanes or more with a median separation: When school bus stops for passengers, only traffic following the bus must stop.
  • Roadway of four lanes or more with a center turning lane: When school bus stops for passengers, only traffic following the bus must stop.

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